Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) officials have said that the track and trace system will be rolled out in July 2021 and it will help enhance revenue collection in the country.

Speaking at a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs on Monday, they told Committee Chairman Senator Farooq Hamid Naek that the scope of the track and trace system would be expanded to industries like sugar, cement and fertiliser.

The system would also monitor the beverage industry and would help widen the tax base besides addressing the issue of under-invoicing, they said.

The committee was apprised that the FBR had initiated work on development of the system but unfortunately it could not succeed in completing it. The officials added that the FBR once again began work on the mechanism and it was now expected to become operational by July 2021.

Discussing the Companies Amendment Bill 2020 to amend the Companies Act 2017, the committee asked its members to forward it to the house. Terming it a noble bill, Naek held the view that it required additional deliberations that would help implement corporate social responsibility initiatives of different companies and they would spend on the development of areas where they operated.

According to him, the companies were exploiting precious natural resources, hence it was their responsibility to allocate a proportion of their revenue to the development of their respective regions in a bid to uplift educational, healthcare and clean drinking water facilities.

Speaking during the meeting, Senator Javed Abbasi called on the companies to fulfill their corporate social responsibility as it would help alleviate poverty and promote education.

“If the companies spend only 2% of their net profit on corporate social responsibility schemes, it can bring significant changes,” he said. “Due to fiscal and financial constraints, it is difficult for the government to fulfill the development requirements.”

The meeting was attended by senators Muhammad Akram, Dilawar Khan and Zeeshan Khanzada. FBR chairman and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance, FBR and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan also attended the meeting.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2021.

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